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Ogoni Clean Up: Social Action Seeks Accountability, Transparency From HYPREP

A non - governmental organization - Social Development Integrated Centre, (Social Action) has asked that the federal government agency, Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) be transparent and accountable in its assessment and cleanup of the Ogoni polluted environment as recommended by the United Nation's Environmental Programme (UNEP) report.

A non - governmental organization - Social Development Integrated Centre, (Social Action) has asked that the federal government agency, Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) be transparent and accountable in its assessment and cleanup of the Ogoni polluted environment as recommended by the United Nation's Environmental Programme (UNEP) report.

Head National Advocacy Center of Social Action, Vivian Bellonwu make the request during a media parley with news men in Port-Harcourt.

The civil society organization also threatened legal suit if HYPREP refuses to repond to Freedom Of Information request on Ogoni cleanup and project contracts.

 Reading the FOI request to the newsmen, as presented to and acknowledged by HYPREP on June 10, 2019, Vivian Bellonwu, said HYPREP should make public the clean-up remediation processes in Ogoni.

The group further demands that "Ogoni clean-up implementation framework (timetable) showing activities schedule, (inception to date, and in view). List of the 21 companies so far awarded the Ogoni cleanup contract jobs, indicating their lots, jobs types, specifications; and details on the emergency measures (including the livelihood projects) done towards the cleanup so far,  as well as those provided by HYPREP in line with the 2011 UNEP Report be made public.

Social Action noted that the information would provide the group better clarity and insight into the activities of HYPREP and strengthen them further as civil society organization working with communities towards both the desired outcome of the clean-up exercise and the well-being of communities and its inhabitants.

Bellonwu further urged HYPREP to respond swiftly to the request as an agency which proves itself as a responsible agency, adding that failure to adhere to the demands may propel the group to take them to court.

"We want to believe that HYPREP will respond properly and provide us with the requisite information. But if HYPREP does not respond to our Freedom Of Information request, then we will follow with the provisions of the law which has enabled us to approach the court to compel the HYPREP to respond."

The group condemned the interference of the Federal Government and Shell in the clean-up process which it said has become intolerable, and warned that it would be difficult for  the exercise to take place if government keep controlling HYPREP and Shell continues to be a member of the Board of Trustee.

Bellonwu said, "Government should consider rejigging HYPREP because the Ogoniland is under stress and need urgent and serious rescue. Shell presence in the Board of Trustee is retarding the process rather than pacing it and the control of government on the agency has further hampered the process".